Harriers Snatch a quartet of Championship Best Performances at County Indoor Champs

A relatively small, but hungry group of young Harriers Track and Field athletes did themselves and the club proud at this years Essex County and Eastern Counties Indoor Championships held over the weekend of Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th February.

A total of four Championship Best Performances and four club records were taken over the two days with a clutch of medals gained from across all age groups.

Day one belonged to Pole Vault queen Olivia Simon, who in her first year as an Under 15 has already made a name for herself in this technically demanding event.  Keeping things in the family, her clearance of 2.55m not only secured her a Gold medal and the first Essex Championship Best Performance for the Green Vests, this clearance also seized the Club Record, from her sister dating back to 2011.

Making their green vest debuts in the U13 girls 60m were Hollie Martin Whymark who came fifth in her heat in 9.37s; Daisy Bullamore ran 10.41s. U15  Emily Swann took on the shortest sprint for the first time and came away with a PB of 9.78s. In U15 Boys Graig Anya Joseph – competing in his school colours – became Essex and Eastern Champion with a new Championship Best Performance and Harriers Club record of 7.08s. Henry Lawes took second place in his first ever indoor championship heat as an U17 and came away with a PB of 7.55s, missing out on a place in his semi by a mere three one hundredths of a second.  Ella Gray – one of the recent CATS transfers claimed herself a new PB in the U17 women’s 60m in a time of 8.57s placing 5th in her heat. In his first year in a new age category, Callum McKay made his way through to the U20 men’s 60m final and despite a flyer of a start where he lead the field over the first 25m he finished in 5th place in a time of 7.17s. In the women’s U20 it was disappointment for Joy Ogunleye – a certain medal contender- as she was forced to pull up in her heat after suffering tight hamstrings, teammate Caitlin O’Reilly went on to take a well-earned bronze in a time of 7.87s, which equals her 2015 indoor PB – and shows a longed-for return to form.  Joe Wilkin,  who has been looking strong in training equalled his PB of 7.34s taking second place in his heat, but unfortunately this was not enough to see him through to the final.

Day two started early with the 300m heats where U17 newcomer Jennifer Palmer finished her heat in a new indoor PB of 47.49s, also facing the tough long sprint was Savannah Harrison who finished 5th in her heat in 47.07s. Neither progressed to the final. However, Harrison then went on to compete in the U17 women’s Triple Jump where she managed to bag herself Bronze Medals for both Championships with a new PB jump of 9.81m and a club record.

In the 800m Harriers were represented by Thomas Palmer making his club debut in the U17 men’s where he ran well to take Silver in a time of 2 mins 03.51 secs. In the U20 race, experienced middle-distance runner Oscar Dawson was pleased with his first performance of the year to take an indoor PB in a time of 2.01.68 and with it a Silver in both Essex and Eastern champs.

In the younger age groups Emily McGill made her indoor debut grabbing a nice PB in a time of 3 mins 2.02 s.

But it was the 200m that claimed the day with five podium placings being secured.  Youngster Olivia Gillon qualified through to the U13 Girls final where she then took Essex Silver and an Eastern Counties Bronze medal too. U17 Katy Rice overcame nerves to step up and take her place alongside the best in the county and finished in 5th place.   In the U20 women’s race Rebecca Jeggo won her heat in comfort in a time of 25.94s with Caitlin O’Reilly taking 3rd as well as a qualifying place in the final in a new indoor PB time of 26.39s.  A long four hour wait ensued before both girls were able to take their place back on the track, however in warm up O’Reilly felt she was unable to compete with a slight pull to her groin and sensibly stood down.  Jeggo showed a return to good form, running a very positive race from the front to finish in gold medal position and a time that broke her own Championship Best performance set at last years meet.  Her time of 24.93s also breaks her own club record and puts her in the top ten in the country for her age group.

In the U20 men’s 200m, Callum McKay qualified through the first heat in 2rd place in 23.51s and was followed in the next heat by Charlie Dobson who easily secured his place in the final with a run of 22.4s.  The final saw the two go head to head but Dobson’s dominance in this event saw him outclass the field, winning in a time of 21.40s, one tenth outside his indoor PB he set last week in Vienna, but it was good enough to claim a seven year old Championship Best Performance and another Club record. McKay claimed his fastest time of the year so far and with it a deserved bronze medal in a time of 23.20s.

Joe Wilkin took on the Senior men and overcame a fear of indoor 200m – having suffered a nasty injury a few years back – this was his first time back running the tight bends and came away with a decent time of 24.25s.

Jake Young competed in the U20 men’s 400m, but after a blistering start and leading the field over the first 200m the lactic took over and he lost ground, however he still managed to claim an Eastern Counties Silver medal.